How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

Check out our guide on how to start a fire with wet wood, so that you can go camping and make a campfire even when it’s raining!

Camping is a great way to experience nature and take a break from the daily grind by pitching up a tent in the middle of nowhere and relaxing by a campfire. Every camper hopes for good weather conditions during their camping trip, however, your stay in the great outdoors doesn’t have to be ruined by unexpected rainfall. 

How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

One trademark aspect of camping, especially in colder temperatures, is the ability to build a campfire. Campfires are a significant part of camping, whether it’s function is to keep you warm throughout the night or to toast marshmallows around and give you the full camping experience.

You don’t have to be deterred from building a campfire in wet weather, as long as you know how, rain shouldn’t stop you from heading out with your tent and creating a perfect campfire to sit by with your friends, family, or just by yourself!

Read below to find out how to build a fire with wet wood. First of all, make sure that you have the required tools; a hatchet, fire starter, matches, a lighter, tinder, a pocket knife and an axe would all be very helpful in constructing the perfect campfire. The fire you build from wet wood will be used to dry out your wood supply for continued use.

Follow the steps below to build a campfire from wet wood:

Step 1: Collect A Form Of Tinder 

Collect all the materials you need before starting your fire, so they are all ready to go as you move through the steps. The first thing you need to find is tinder, which can come in the form of dry materials around the area you plan to set your fire.

Look under trees for the driest foliage you can find, such as dry leaves, pine needles, or wood shavings (which you can make by shaving dry sticks with your pocket knife). 

Step 2: Collect Some Kindling

The kindling you collect in this step will be used to fuel your fire early on so you can start some strong flames and then work to keep your fire going. The more kindling you have the better. Search for planks of wood or sticks in different sizes, collect a good amount and then split them into small, medium and large sizes.

Remove any wet bark at this stage, you can use your pocket knife to help you do this. This will allow any wet wood to dry faster and burn effectively. 

How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

Step 3: Make The Fire Structure

Create a base using medium or large wood pieces or sticks, by laying the wood side by side. to create a floor to start your fire on by laying pieces side by side. The base is important in wet conditions as the damp floor can prevent your fire from starting. The base will allow a fire to be created on a dry surface.

Next, take your tinder materials and place them directly in the centre of your wood base. Take the materials you collected for kindling in the earlier step and form a teepee-shape around the base by laying the pieces of wood or sticks against each other and balancing them around the base. Make sure to leave an access point to the kindling so that you can actually light the fire when you are ready. 

Next, use small and medium pieces of wood to construct walls around the teepee by leaning them on each other as before. Then, lay one large piece of wood on each side of the teepee. Construct another layer of wood in the front and back of the teepee structure using small and medium wood, continue doing this until the teepee is layered with wood.

As the walls become larger, keep adding some large wood until your walls are above the teepee structure. Create a wood roof across the top of the teepee using large pieces of wood, allowing gaps between the pieces of wood to allow air to reach your fire. 

Step 4: Light The Fire 

Using a lighter or matches, access the tinder and light it. Let the flames burn until the kindling begins to catch fire. 

Step 5: Feed The Fire 

Carefully feed the growing flames with kindling. Continue this step until the heat from the flames dries out the larger wood pieces and the wooden walls of the teepee structure begin to catch fire and burn well.

Gently blowing at the kindling will aid the growth of the fire, but make sure to keep adding more kindling as you do this.

Step 6: Add More Wood 

The walls of the teepee structure will begin to burn down as the fire gets stronger, so you should keep adding more layers of wood to the top of the structure. Don’t put too much wood on in one go, or forget to leave gaps for airflow to enter, otherwise you may smother the fire.

If the fire looks like it’s beginning to get smothered, remove some wood from the structure and add more kindling to the centre. You can now lay some damp wood around the teepee close to the fire, and the heat will help to dry it out for future use. 

Step 7: Keep The Fire Going 

As the fire gets stronger, the structure may start to break down. Using a piece of wood, move the wood around to keep the flames progressing. Remember to keep gaps between wood pieces to keep air flow to the fire.

As the wood continues to burn down, you will start to notice a coal base forming at the bottom of the structure. The coal base will help to maintain the fire, contain heat and dry more pieces of wood as you put them into the fire.

Now that you know the steps to take to make a campfire in any condition, you can use your skills to dry out wet wood and go camping even when it’s raining. 

Eric Willis
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